Thursday, July 7, 2016

The ‘Ents’ of West Gippsland

J. R. R. Tolkien wrote about ‘ents’ in his trilogy ‘Lord of the Rings’. Ents are tree-like beings, very old and very tall and stiff-limbed, with bark-like skin and leafy ‘hair’. Originally the land of Middle Earth in the world created by Tolkein was covered in a great forest which has been progressively destroyed by humans over the centuries.

This Ent was seen recently in Drouin ... keep your eyes peeled.
‘Treebeard’ is the oldest of the species of ents. He lives in the ancient forest of Fangorn. He is very tall, rough and wrinkled with a barky long beard and spreading branch arms. For those fans of Lord of the Rings you will know that ents take a long time to make up their minds and that is because for centuries they have had time on their hands until the coming of man.

Up until 150 years ago West Gippsland was covered in what was called ‘The Great Gippsland Forest’, an area of heavily timbered hills and gullies, giant eucalypts, dense undergrowth and tall tree ferns. Drouin was one of the last towns to be ‘opened up’ because of the immense trees and dense bush.

Man came and settled, clearing forest for farmland and felling trees for building and firewood. In its heyday Drouin boasted some 14 timber mills within what is the town boundary today. But remarkably some of the old trees have survived. Mostly Mountain Greys, some Strzeleckii and Messmate and a few Blue Gums, Narrow-leafed Peppermints, Manna gums, Swamp Gums, Mahoghany Gums and others.

The tall giants left in the town, like the ents are witness to the progress of man and stand as monuments to what once was. It is remarkable that they have survived!! The oldest and largest of these is The Settlement Giant a huge Mountain Grey in Settlement Road.

Jod's Greybeard.
One of my ‘Lord of the Rings’ friends says he should be called ‘Greybeard’! Perhaps other Lord of the Rings fans might agree!

Thanks go to Jod and Judy for a wonderful contribution.

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